Jonah Hex (played by Josh Brolin - No Country For Old Men
) is another graphic novel to silverscreen conversion about our heavily-scarred & super-natural bounty hunter of the same name. Hex betrays his confederate General Quentin Turnbull (John Malkovich - Afterwards
) killing Turnbull's son as an unintended consequence. As vengeance, Turnbull kills Jonah Hex's family forcing him to watch - tied to a post. When Crow Indians find him days later, near-death and with a brand on his face, their shaman work their magic but fail to "bring him back all the way". As a result our hero Hex has the uncanny ability to talk to the recently deceased as he has a foot on either side, one in life, one in death - it also gives him the useful knack of being able to dodge imminent death.
Hex swears revenge on Quentin Turnbull and is robbed of his vengeance when Turnbull appears to have died in a hotel fire. When several armouries of the fledgling United States are raided for key components of a weapon the world has never seen the likes of - Hex is roped into service to stop an enemy he thought had been laid to rest.
It may have been a box-office bomb - no argument there - but this film has been pretty much universally panned by critics saying it's incoherent, the plot is flimsy and that the acting is poor - but I would like to disagree. I'm not a diehard Jonah Hex fan or anything - I hadn't actually seen much of the character before watching the film - but I really liked the experience.
Megan Fox's (Transformers
) acting IS dire but in fairness I fail to see how that could sink the whole film as she only has about 10 lines and is onscreen for around 5 minutes in total. With that said, Brolin plays a fantastically stoic & gritty Jonah Hex, a man who no longer cares whether he lives or dies - he suits the character perfectly. Malkovich plays the deranged madman with poise and grace (sipping sugar-strained lemonade, whilst watching - with opera glasses - the death of hundreds of innocents by his new weapon) and the supporting cast are more than adequate.
What enamoured me to this film was how good the Western feeling was to the whole experience, the opening scene could have been out of anyone of the decent cowboy-tales of yesteryear. Pair this with a great take on some steampunk-styled weaponry - horse-mounted Gatling cannons and dynamite-launching handheld crossbows for example - all courtesy of The Smith (Lance Reddick - Lost
) and you have a millieu worthy of the best. The film is exceptionally well directed, with some really great shots of bandits on horseback chasing a train across cornfields for example (well done Jimmy Hayward) and really captured my attention for the duration - which admittedly is a little light, clocking in at 81 minutes (including credits!!). The score is good as well, with some of the dream sequences having some extremely surreal pink-floydesque tracks, juxtaposed with the heavier rock during the action scenes.
The one disc version comes with a little extra content, a few deleted scenes and an animated short which is very good even as a stand-alone. However I have no idea what was worthy enough to fill an entire other disc but there is also a 2-disc version should you want the works.
In conclusion, this isn't the best graphic novel adaptation out there by any means but it's nowhere near as bad as people have made out, it's definitely worth a watch!!